Hot Fries don't seem to be the worst snack food out there because after all, they are "oven baked". Even so, are they bad for you? The answer is yes.
Andy Capp's Hot Fries appear to be a decent snack according to its Nutrition Facts label. Per serving they are low in cholesterol (0mg), low in saturated fat (1.5g), low in calories (120cal) and contain some vitamins and minerals. However, many consumers when purchasing a snack find that a single bag in its entirety is a sufficient portion to eat in one sitting and gorge themselves on the whole thing. How many servings are actually in each bag? Not 1, but 3 servings. Now those calories aren't so low anymore.
Labels are often deceiving and make us think that we are eating something that is good for us, when in reality we aren't. We need to look past what we see on the surface as a healthy snack option because what really matters are the ingredients and nutritional value of what we're eating.
Looking more objectively at what’s inside, we see that Hot Fries are in fact high in sodium, contain multiple trans-fats and several controversial ingredients such as MSG, torula yeast, BHT, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavorings, preservatives and more.
Let's shed some light on a few of these ingredients.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is added to foods to enhance flavor, creating an addictive savory taste. This is a chemically produced flavoring and is classified as an excitotoxin, a compound that causes overstimulation of neurotransmitters. MSG has been proven to cause severe reactions in the body leading to life-threatening illnesses, diseases and mental disorders.
Torula yeast is a substitute for monosodium glutamate (MSG) and is commonly used in dog food. Torula yeast made it's way into human food when people started to become wise to MSG and refused to buy products containing this additive. Although causing fewer allergic reactions than MSG, some people still suffer from problems with the alternative torula yeast.
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is added to prevent foods containing polyunsaturated fats from going rancid. A similar synthetic compound found in Hot Fries is butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), which also preserves fats and oils to maintain a longer shelf life. BHT is very controversial because studies have shown that it is carcinogenic, while others claim it can help fight cancer and HIV. In any case, both BHT and BHA are unnecessary ingredients and can easily be replaced by safer substitutes or left out altogether.
Another long-named chemical, tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), is butane based and a main component of lighter fluid. This antioxidant again is added to preserve the oils from turning rancid. This one, however, can only be ingested in very low doses because of the threat to consumer health. TBHQ was not approved to be added to foods for several years until the FDA finally allowed it in.
Hot Fries are said to contain only 19 different ingredients, but among these are artificial flavors. Artificial flavors are lab-produced and their complex chemical makeup is not required to be viewed by the public. They have the right to keep the recipe a secret. Not surprising, the list of chemicals used to produce a single flavoring is quite long.
We can see now that Hot Fries are indeed an overly processed snack that seems good at first glance but not the second time.
Possible short-term side effects
- allergic reactions
- upset stomach
- hyperactivity, especially in children
- bodily inflammation
Possible long-term side effects
- damage to intestinal tract
- brain disease
- cardiac abnormalities
Ingredients to be aware of
- monosodium glutamate (msg)
- torula yeast
- butylated hydroxytoluene (bht)
- butylated hydroxyanisole (bha)
- tertiary butylhydroquinone (tbhq)
- artificial flavors
- sodium bisulfite
- partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil
- partially hydrogenated soybean oil
Healthy & tasty alternatives (what is this?)
Suggest improvement or correction to this article
Written by Desmond | 03-18-2016
Written by Desmond
Suggest improvement or correction